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Budd
03-26-2017, 02:04 PM
Been away from Aikiweb for a few years when the "Reverse breath and kokyu ho" got my attention enough to contribute some how to information to the thread. The absurdly titled "Does having aiki make you invincible" also had some moments where we could look at "how-to's". Since I believe there's still the appetite for information sharing, I'm going to try to encourage more conversations in that spirit to hopefully continue the dialogue of internal strength, how it works and some of the pragmatic considerations for training it and measuring its efficacy as a conditioned skill that has advantages for strength, mobility and technique application.

So I thought a good place to start would be on our basic connection to the ground while in an upright standing position. In some of the classical approaches, a lot of attention is paid to to the "Qi/Ki of Earth" (there's also Qi/Ki of Heaven and Qi/Ki of Man, which links nicely to the Bridging of Heaven and Earth that Ueshiba saw aikido enabling as a means to collect, contain and transmit the essence and power of the kami/spirits all around us - though it's also become increasingly apparent that such fantastic imagery were really intended to describe very pragmatic and practical truths, another theme we can explore here) as the means by which our body as a vessel can leverage the the "naturally" occurring external forces of the ground pushing us up and gravity pulling us down.

Both are enabled by the mind's ability to will the body's internal alignment of bone-muscle-tendon-tissue in ways that can increasingly direct - and in a more sophisticated manner as skill and conditioning improve - the propagation of ground and gravity powers as force multipliers to whole-body strength in ways that are less obvious to the eyes. Depending on how you approach and define "aiki", this phenomenon also has ramifications on what might pragmatically be described in practical terms as "harmonizing with energy". We will come back to this as we revisit the other aspects of Qi/Ki, but this basic intention-force management is described as"Jin" in Chinese (while often lumped in with Ki in Japanese) - of which there are multiple types that describe different aspects of ground/gravity force manegement. We will mostly refer to Peng Jin here, bringing the ground power up through your body and through another person.

Several phrases in martial practices touch on the need to be connected or rooted to the ground. In Tohei's Ki Aikido approach, a key aspect often described is "keeping weight underside", while the Chinese admonition to "sink the Qi" pops up in multiple practices, even if the specific activities may differ based on the specific aims of the practice. Many Southern Chinese styles (the precursors to Okinawan karate and several jujutsu and kempo systems) practice rooting as an explicit activity, i.e. The ability to withstand a push, hold low stances, one-legged postures, all considered fundamental exercises to establish a baseline level of strength and connection to the ground in order to properly perform any of the techniques.

The emphasis on leg development ("leg gong fu") is historically important from two perspectives - one, learning relax and connect the upper body in a way that allows maximum propagation and transference of the ground power as sourced up through the legs, waist and trunk. Any local muscle interference from the upper body breaks the chain of power that's available as well as connection to the ground. An ingenious aim of modern jujutsu schools is to practice both aiming the ground powers to an opponent or practice partner's limb or joint, thereby establishing control via disrupting the other person's connection to the ground, while also providing a means for the receiving side to practice dealing with increasing power against vulnerable points while maintaining their composure (via root and ground connection) under adverse circumstances. Ideally with drills to practice the ground-gravity checkpoints of body organization while optimizing intent-force management, which can progress up the chain to randori and even shiai.

The second area of cultivation is a focus on strengthening the legs, core and root in a way that draws the ground power up through the body (assuming the upper body is training to relax and connect to the lower body) such that the ground power can be directed out the fingers, head, shoulders, etc - again, visibly trained via the many types of drills showing receptions against a push or grab, bringing the ground up under the pusher's strength. These fundamental attributes again are not techniques themselves, but core body skills that prepare the practitioner to more ably do "aiki" in the "harmonization with energy" sense of the term.

This type of connected body with intent-force management has many levels of progression, but begins to change the conversation from merely receiving an incoming force to one more proactive. Your management of your own ground-gravity intersection in your relaxed upper body connected to the ground power driven up via the legs and trunk, creates an increasingly able body to do "aiki" with another person. By optimizing your sphere of ground-gravity force management you can harmonize with another person's ground-gravity forces to make them one unit with a single prime governor.

This is one aspect of the overall 6 Harmony suite of skills. If we can talk through how some of these ground gravity force management aspects work in various training approaches, perhaps we can productively address some of the other 6H aspects of training (Ki, kokyu, hara, etc).

Alec Corper
03-27-2017, 03:54 AM
Hello Budd,
Before I add my two cents to this i want to make a few observations. First off all training models are just that, a model. I have seen differences between the so called "internal" Chinese arts in terms of the energies they develop and their expression, as for example the straight line explosiveness of Hsing I versus the coiling nature of Ba Gua. I have also seen and felt that some teachers can do but not explain and others can explain but not do. The third category those who can do and teach it still need a good match with the nature of those who want to learn.
As far as I know the artificial separation into external arts and internal arts only occurred toward the end of the 19th century. According to most sources I can remember before that point all the arts were considered to be driven by some kind of internal motor. Possibly the loss of that knowledge drove a small group to designate Tai Chi, Ba Gua and Hsing I as the heart of Nei Jia, "Internal Arts".
Still, whatever the history there are certain unifying features that surpass the differences, the major one being the emphasis of using the mind to "force" the body to re-educate it's learned responses, many of which are counter productive.
For example, we all know that if you ask someone to receive a push and then stop just before making contact most people will lean into the push and lose their balance. this response, both physically and mentally, derive form our fight or flight response to stress. So judo uses this simple idea, push when pulled, pull when pushed. Aikido "refines" it somewhat with enter who pulled, turn when pushed.
What unifies these ideas is that being pulled or pushed removes our verticality so that gravity can help us to fall down. So it makes sense, at least martially, to make oneself able to maintain verticality irregardless of horizontal incoming pressures. the same logic applies to being pulled up or pushed down which hits our horizontal balance. These simple mechanics when combined, uproot and pull, plant and push, when combined with turning left or right, form the 6 directional basis of all martial techniques. Therefore, if one could equalise the application of those forces, a level of immovability would begin to manifest.
Good wrestlers and judo players learn this, both through technique and body to body contact, but it is not necessarily the same property that the "internal" proponent seeks, but touching these guys always gives a reality check.
My apologies if I take too long to get there but background is important, those who already know all this will forgive me, I hope.
So developing the "root" as Budd calls it makes complete sense as long as you have the rebound of gravity as well. The reason for is stated above, rooting or grounding someone else is one way to throw or lock or strike. Hitting a heavy bag will tell you this, if you do not have root at the moment of contact, "ground in your hands", you will bounce of the bag. If the bag disappears you will fall over, unless you are punching "within yourself", (more later). If the bag hits you and you bounce away, with good structure you land in the same posture a meter away.

So when I think about internals I also think about down force, gravity, and rebound, which is not really earth force, since the ground is not doing anything. Gravity, on the other hand, is pushing you into the ground and wherever your structure is not vertically aligned, that is where you begin to lose your balance, in a martial context, or where you begin to suffer the wear and tear of ageing, in the health context.
Getting the skeletal structure to allow gravity to pass through as unimpeded as possible is the way to go, but the habits of misalignment we already have are such that we are leaning all over the place but don't know it. We need to correct our posture from head to toe, and back again, quite literally. We need to identify the line between the top of the head through the perineum and into the centre of the feet and then recognise how the relaxed hinging of the hips, knees and ankles must continually adjust to remain in balance. This is an example of "motion in stillness". However we also want mobility so that spring quality in the joints must be enhanced by opening the spinal column. I find pulling up from the crown and lengthening the back of the neck the way that works best for me. The feet are our contact point with the ground so they need attention. Mentally divide your feet into three parts from side to side and from back to front, find approximately the middle of the middle, it will be around the area of the foot that is not on the ground. That area is the gravity pump and the area you want your middle line to fall through. The rest of the foot gives you feedback, when you direct your mind there, to whether you are swaying backwards or forwards, or left or right. If you can make constant micro adjustments you will notice a very small spinning action or rotation, "stillness in motion". The flexibility of the ankles, especially the tendons, plays a role as well in allowing the knees to take less load and maintain a slightly opened joint. For myself I try to feel as if there is a circular movement rather than an open/close joint. I practise that by including a very small backwards/ forwards roll within the hingeing action. Now most of these actions are not so difficult, but they all require attention, the "internal" component. this can also be called directed intent, the awakening of the nervous system to an area of phyiscal activity you were previously unaware of.

More later, life calls.

MrIggy
03-27-2017, 09:30 AM
What does the "6 harmony" or "6H" stand for exactly?

Demetrio Cereijo
03-27-2017, 10:02 AM
What does the "6 harmony" or "6H" stand for exactly?

http://mikesigman.blogspot.com.es/2012/10/silk-reeling-aka-six-harmonies-movement.html

Alec Corper
03-27-2017, 10:52 AM
Yi intent, leads to ki, energy, leads to power, li.
Hands relate to feet, elbows to knees , shoulders to hips. These connections are steered by intent but have an external expression. It does not imply that they always move the same way in fact most technical effect comes from the different planes of movement producing spirals. There are many "3"s in CMA. For example shoulder is root of upper body, elbow is connection, hand is flower or expression..
Moving the elbow on the lateral plane whilst moving the shoulder on the vertical and front planes produces a spiral in the wrist but the hand does nothing contrary to outer forms where a wrist rotation appears to be the action. Maybe skipping ahead too much, we were only at root and just beginning.

Budd
03-27-2017, 01:17 PM
Hi Alec, I get how you're describing your terms, but let me elaborate on the model I use as it again aligns to a specific set of terms and has a basic progression relating to the three internal harmonies and three external.

The term, Qi/Ki of Earth somewhat describes that area I'm trying to talk through - in that the ground/Earth is the most stable structure offering a resistance to the "natural" down force of gravity. Our ability to connect to it to "borrow" it's solidity (which is what enables the breaking through the "lean as response to push") is a necessary step and in some cases easier to start with (as a sinking, rooting activity) than trying to borrow the gravity force to add to our solidity (though it's found in every striking art from the dropping weight perspective).

There's many ways to resist a push. I'd argue the most effective and productive is to learn to borrow the solidity of the ground force by standing in a relaxed manner (and having a partner offering at first a dumb force on different parts of the body) so that the imagery of either bringing the solidity of the ground up through you to accept the push, bringing the solidity of the ground up through you under the push, or replying to the push with a tangent line such that the pusher starts to unbalance themselves. Adding the down force can legitimately take a bit more time from a gravity force management (at least in the model I show) based on the point of using a relaxed structure to convey the down force without trying to add any technique at the initial point.

The three external harmonies in the 6 H model have to do more with how the body is connected via bone-muscle-tendon-ligament and specific methods to condition those connections to create a much more stable body in receiving and issuing the forces being mentally managed in the three internal harmonies. Again there's a strong emphasis in a relaxed but stable structure, that over time is trained to optimally issue the strength of the legs and trunk up through the hands (head, shoulders, elbows, etc.), borrowing the down force, solidity of the ground where appropriate, but also using the elasticity of the connections to greatly augment the force/power available to the practitioner - either alone or when combined with intent ground/gravity force management in applications it creates more space to operate to resist throws/locks/chokes, it is additive power to strikes, body stability, etc.

In one sense it's like any other attribute of strength, speed, conditioning, balance, but in terms of budo it's like an attribute multiplier of all of those things. The intention based stuff is easier to learn at first while the connection based work takes a lot longer, especially if done aligning to developing the whole body connection rather than specific parts or areas.

Rupert Atkinson
03-27-2017, 01:18 PM
For ground, myself, my basic movement exercises demand one thing - that there be a constant line of power from foot to hand at all times when moving. If you can't move like that, there will be hiccups in your power delivery (if you don't like the word power - think - kokyu).

Once you have an idea for that, try to put the same movement in your techniques. When I observe others, even Sensei, I see hiccups / interruptions ... all over the place.

And before you say - I'm doing that already - test it out while thinking about it.

Incidentally, I once showed someone, and then later, I was on a seminar he was doing, and he was trying to show the same thing, and was not doing it himself. And he came over to me and tried to show me how to do it. This has happened a few times with different ideas I have had - bizarre what! People are messed up with ego.

Budd
03-27-2017, 01:28 PM
Hi Rupert, I agree this is an important component - as I was mentioning it above, there's the aspects of borrowing the solidity of the ground and having that strength available out your hands. There's also the gravity aspects - then your body's conditioning and connection to convey the ground/gravity strengths. Very deep topic and a lifelong study that definitely enhances one's practice while also sometimes creating obstacles in class depending on how well you can blend in someone else's house vs. their need to correct every move.

Alec Corper
03-28-2017, 03:09 AM
Moving up to the hip area, but not what the Japans refer to as koshi, but to the top of the femur where they enter the hips. These ball joints and particularly the tissue around them, need to be able to move freely within themselves to both carry and transfer loads for upper to lower body and vice versa. they are the controllers that allow the middle waist area, Dantien or Tanden, to rotate and power whole body movement. I think this is possibly the most difficult area to recruit into preparatory work, especially for those who have been trained to move their hips whilst calling them "centre". For me, one of the best methods is to stand in a moderate horse stance, maintain the alignment of toes and knees at all times. Gently rotate your upper body, paying attention to the maintenance of the shoulder hip line, don't break it!
Keep your head board to maintain anchor between head and the drive shaft of the spinal column and bring you shoulder towards your chin. As you begin to turn left you will feel pull in the inguinal crease and in the side of the body wall. You will want to shift your weight left, instead push intent into your right foot and knee and try to stay in your own centre of gravity, then reverse. this is one practise to open and loosen this area as part of rooting and later issuing. Really try not to move from side to side and use a mirror. There are other exercises than this but i have found this most rewarding and difficult.
I personally find it difficult to work only with YI or awareness if i do not first awaken the area at a more physical level. When i can start to get some sensation in the specific area i will begin to try to work with less overt physical action. So I am looking at readying the body to handle heaven earth force. When the body has been properly conditioned the importance of external structural alignment becomes less and less as the the web of intent and energy are deeply woven in the tissue and tendon. In other words once you can stand up properly you don't really need to!
Now instead of going to the centre lets swing back to the head. We have spoken of keeping the head suspended. Lengthening the neck usually means tilting the chin slightly down and back. as you do this you will feel some pull on the tissue area between neck and shoulders. Maintaining that pull rotate your shoulders forwards and let them fall in a relaxed way. Imagine you have a small golfball in each armpit so that your shoulders fall forwards and slightly out. this will begin to open the area between the shoulder blades. This area is also activated by stake standing, holding the ball posture, another way to practise root. BTW its impossible to do all these things at once so you focus on bits until they start to connect naturally. One more bit for now, whilst trying to keep your body aligned and your feet meeting the ground and your head suspended relax your six pack (no problem at 65!) and think about sitting on a wall. Don't actually do anything but you should feel a shift down into your centre area. If you can keep some bits together we are almost ready to begin ;-)

Disclaimer, I'm a long time beginner not an expert. Budd suggested some dialogue on what we actually do. These are some bits of my personal practise which I am happy to share.

Alec Corper
03-28-2017, 03:46 AM
For ground, myself, my basic movement exercises demand one thing - that there be a constant line of power from foot to hand at all times when moving. If you can't move like that, there will be hiccups in your power delivery (if you don't like the word power - think - kokyu).

Once you have an idea for that, try to put the same movement in your techniques. When I observe others, even Sensei, I see hiccups / interruptions ... all over the place.

And before you say - I'm doing that already - test it out while thinking about it.

Incidentally, I once showed someone, and then later, I was on a seminar he was doing, and he was trying to show the same thing, and was not doing it himself. And he came over to me and tried to show me how to do it. This has happened a few times with different ideas I have had - bizarre what! People are messed up with ego.

i agree Rupert, how do you train that line? Mentally through visualisation. imagination line of sight?
Physically through throwing hands at the ground. Do you split power towards centre and skeletal structure alignment ? D you think feet to hands or hands to feet and back again? Are you heavy at the point of contact or does it remain in your body until emptiness emerges in your partner/opponent?
It is funny that a lot of guys in boxing who have knockout power are also more easily knocked out. Heavy hands-heavy root? The management of yin/yang, ( in/yo ) seems to play a vital role in this. perhaps root and centre should be everywhere and not localised?

Rupert Atkinson
03-28-2017, 06:28 AM
[QUOTE=Alec Corper;350449]i agree Rupert, how do you train that line? Mentally through visualisation. imagination line of sight? Physically through ...QUOTE]

All of that ... a bit of everything. I trained with some Taichi-ing friends years ago and got the idea to do Aikido waza by myself, Taichi style. It is ... somehow 'theraputic'. I have been walking in circles for years after reading a Robert Smith book, later got corrected / adjusted by someone ... still doing it. More recently, youtube is great for ideas. Then test it out on people etc. when training Aikido or with friends - in the past in Judo and Jujutsu too. Training with Kanetsuka Sensei years ago set me on the track to search ... still at it. I have explained a lot in my online book ... but not so easy to decipher I guess. Training against resistance is best, aiming to make it work using minimal energy. Start with leverage than transition to neutralising uke's energy, then using/manipulating uke's energy. It's a bit of a lark I guess. No one can do my idiosyncratic stuff, so it seems, but there are others out there that can do stuff I can't do ... so the search is endless. The most useful training is done by myself. I don't need any partners.

Budd
03-28-2017, 09:39 AM
Thanks, Alec and Rupert - good inputs. I think there's a necessary dual feedback loop regarding training the manifestation of intention force management (weight of gravity, solidity of the ground) in the body, while also training the bone-muscle-tendon-tissue via various imagery, breath and pattern based drills to build the connections to better propagate the intention force management.

Some progression things I've noticed is that it's easiest to get people doing basic ground power up through the body when receiving a dumb force push to the shoulder or hip, virtually everyone is carrying tension spots in the arms and shoulders, most of us lean when trying to bring the solidity of the ground into the hands. I'm seeing more progress get made with having simple models to follow rather than specific techniques or micro-adjustment standards (only because sometimes the big goal of ground force into hands gets lost in the "move three inches here" discussions if they stack up too much).

Alec, your mention of the ball joints in the hip areas is good, from a visualization perspective, there needs to be almost a corresponding "hammock" those joints can rest on, swing freely and elastically stretch to increase tensile strength - even as they are connected to the pressure pot area of the dantien (as ball/sphere from front of navel, down under perineum, back to other side of L2/L3 spinal area)- that "hammock" best gets built from a relaxed but connected frame that's developed over time as part of the Qi/Ki work on body connections.

Alec Corper
03-28-2017, 10:46 AM
Whilst I agree with you, Budd, about using pressure tests to help people get a quicker "feel" for handling forces I am of the mind that,when talking about root and standing, hands on testing needs something more. I am indebted to GM Sam Chin for helping me to see and understand the idea and method of self diagnostics in the practice of IMA. Not only do you need to recognize what you are doing but what is going wrong and why. Self correction is the essence of balancing yin and yang to achieve and maintain a neutral state. If you can't do it standing still you sure can't do it in motion.
In my thinking if I don't have at least some idea of what I am trying to do, where it fits in the developmental process and how to have some sense of it's result then my practice tends to be vague and there cannot really be yi present.
Getting back to our discussion I am avoiding talking about the big guns of dantien and mingmen since they tend to manifest when everything else is assembled, we'll get there eventually. So when you keep your head suspended and intend to sit down without actually sitting you relax the stomach and the pelvis floor begins to fall slightly in the opposite direction to the corrected head tilt. IMO this is better than trying to do an artificial hip tilt that some Tai Chi people use. The pelvic structure needs to be allowed to rotate upwards at the front and down at the back, not become more compressed. This brings us to Budd's comments about "leg fu". There is some feeling of pull that needs to pass down the legs and under the foot to increase the tugging on the central area. I think going into the idea of the directional aspects of yin and yang tissue and energy flow is a bit much when beginning to stand, but gradually intent leads energy in cycles and spirals of movement. The body is now standing in a very slightly reversed S curve. This can be expressed further with the idea of holding a ball in front and sitting on a large ball. You are now in the center of a sphere and we can begin to focus on the center point of that sphere.

Budd
03-28-2017, 12:23 PM
That's a bit of a straw man, Alec. Of course you need a way to self-diagnose. Of course you need a way to optimize your connections and alignment. Of course you need to know what you're working on in relative scale of your actual progress (as it aligns to your framework and the path laid by your seniors).

I'm not sure I agree with your specific instances of diagnostics, but as you and I have discussed, the model and language we each use has implications - I also think we're veering more into the "it has to be felt" territory and your descriptions are useful data points for folks to think about in the realm of how broad a topic this actually is.

Rupert Atkinson
03-28-2017, 01:00 PM
In terms of imagination, I like to think of myself as a pyramid moving about. They say, when still be like the mountain, when moving be like the river. Well, I say no. I want to be a mountain that moves like a river. I got the idea of the pyramid from a friend in NZ (Adam - died of cancer). Basically, uke usually contacts us at the top of the pyramid (which we manipulate to be so) and our body (the greater mass of the pyramid) just steps in and through uke, with a bit of craft, in reality deflecting uke's attack. In this example, I do not avoid, I just try to walk through uke. Of course, I may avoid a micron or two, but the idea is, I do not avoid. It also develops a stronger kokyu that remains somehow fluid. My own idiosyncratic way - I have not seen others do it, and if I explain they say - it's not aikido - you must avoid! When I watch them, to me, now, they just run 'around' uke's energy. But I have a clear choice: go around, or go through - or a mixture.

As an addition to this: For me, now, irimi is to go through or to return uke's energy to him. Tenkan is to go around or let uke's energy continue on, and even if you avoid by only 1 degree, I now say that is tenkan. If I can be more irimi, my skill increases, so I like to think - not easy of course - sometimes I have to avoid, but at the slightest opportunity I take irimi. So, tenkan is not a technique anymore for me, just a means to enter irimi. Thus - doing a tenkan ikkyo is useless (except maybe for grading and learning how to move for basics). Tenkan should be done because you can't do irimi, but as soon as opportunity presents, you take irimi. Again, no one out there has this point of view, and people reject my idea. But if you look at what you do yourself, you might find it to be - reality. Again, this is all in my online book, somewhere.

It is just not so easy to explain. If you alter the way you do Aikido, you may find the means to find aiki. It's not all in the touchy-feely - the method is important too. I like the two irimi / two tenkan training approach as it makes me more ambidextrous, but it is hopeless for aiki.

I have no idea what some people on here are rambling on about in terms of six harmonies (I have read about it) or in terms of weight and this and that. With training we get heavy - so what. All that we do has an up down / left right / front back aspect - so what. But such can be focused upon. Just reading about it is not so helpful - I have to 'meet' someone. Direct transmission is the only true teaching method. I have my own idiosyncratic way - self taught, but a lot of stealing. I watch and steal. My own journey.

Budd
03-28-2017, 02:28 PM
Hi Rupert - I like your description of irimi and tenkan, it's similar to how we'd describe it in aikido back in the day per Ellis Amdur's Taikyoku Aikido (There is no tenkan without irimi).

As for 6 Harmonies, the link has already been included per Mike Sigman's blog and the descriptions align pretty nicely to lots of the literature that describe the internal strength thingies. I agree that hands-on is the only way, but as one of the ramblers (and other than the 6H container, I am pretty clear that I'm describing basic physical thingies) I'm trying to understand your objection. Do you disagree? Offer an alternative? I'd think using concrete things like solidity of the ground (see what I did there?) or gravity would help the general discussion rather than relying on Japanese terminology.

MrIggy
03-28-2017, 07:25 PM
http://mikesigman.blogspot.com.es/2012/10/silk-reeling-aka-six-harmonies-movement.html

Thanks for the link.

asiawide
03-29-2017, 12:48 AM
1

1) upper/lower body should be aligned and relaxed to place its weight on arms
2) 1) can not be accomplished by hearing 'relaaaaaa~~~x' on the mat
3) 1) requires body training. I guess it's more like re-programming brain to move so.
4) up/down of weight affects uke's push or pull since the uke can't push or pull forever. Matching happens.
5) There are a lot of spaces in human body and 4) is driven by intent and certain muscles, bones and something in body moves up/down.
6) 1)~5) works for many people since their balance sucks but doesn't work for the people who trained his body for some months

Jaemin

Rupert Atkinson
03-29-2017, 03:55 AM
I'm trying to understand your objection. Do you disagree? Offer an alternative? I'd think using concrete things like solidity of the ground (see what I did there?) or gravity would help the general discussion rather than relying on Japanese terminology.

I don't disagree - I have read this and that - it all sounds OK, but I can't trust what I read until I train with someone who knows what they are doing and that it matches what they are saying.

I have met people who told me this n that only to find out they don't have much skill (that helps me) upon meeting. I mean, they have some skill, but I guess, often, I have no use for it. To quote a crude but good friend of mine, "They are good at what they do, but what they do is rubbish." Well, that's what he says. I just think I am further ahead so nothing to learn for me. And then, I cannot value anything they say. I have to seek out those who are ahead, then watch, listen, feel, and try to steal.

Budd
03-29-2017, 06:32 AM
Yep, no matter what words get said, the practitioner's ability to execute always becomes clearer on contact. Again, I don't know anyone arguing otherwise.

Alec Corper
03-29-2017, 06:59 AM
I don't disagree - I have read this and that - it all sounds OK, but I can't trust what I read until I train with someone who knows what they are doing and that it matches what they are saying.

I have met people who told me this n that only to find out they don't have much skill (that helps me) upon meeting. I mean, they have some skill, but I guess, often, I have no use for it. To quote a crude but good friend of mine, "They are good at what they do, but what they do is rubbish." Well, that's what he says. I just think I am further ahead so nothing to learn for me. And then, I cannot value anything they say. I have to seek out those who are ahead, then watch, listen, feel, and try to steal.

Well, I have been advocating the need to go out and get hands on with people who can do this stuff for the last 8 or 9 years. Then people say , So why don't you guys explain what you do?. Then people either dismiss it, " we do that", which I know they don't by virtue of what they can't explain clearly with reference to physical sensations and the difficulties encountered, or they say, " it's not necessary , just repeat and you will develop it".

Now we try to have a little constructive dialogue. If people aren't interested, ignore it, dont waste time endlessly complaining about what a waste of time it is to read and write about it. Personally Rupert I would be happy to touch hands if we are ever in the same part of the world but I don't think either of us will be buying an airline ticket to visit. If you can learn this stuff by, as you say, watch, listen, feel and practice what you read in a book, more power to you. I cannot see how you could learn circle walking from anything Robert Smith wrote, the text was superficial and the pictures almost useless, but you are you.
Anyway good luck with your approach,
Alec

Budd
03-29-2017, 08:42 AM
I agree, Alec, and I think it's part of the dialogue that will get revealed as we keep having these conversations - in that there's folks that aren't doing this stuff and looking to learn more, folks that think they're doing this stuff already and may or may not be, folks home brewing via getting access to lots of people and information sources, people following an established framework - and likely every combination in between.

Per our initial dialogue - I see value in linking what's meant by "internal training in aikido" to established frameworks of the larger category of "internal strength" as described in any number of Asian texts - very often using common dialogue around ki/qi, heaven/earth/man, bridge to heaven metaphorical language that has very practical and pragmatically trained areas of study according to a number of methodologies. Where it's valuable to get participation from various folks is that 1) it gives folks a chance to understand what's out there in the world regarding various paths people are taking to explicitly work on this stuff. 2) hopefully raises the dialogue so that people are able to more explicitly describe what they're doing (not sure vs. this established framework vs. home brewing vs. other).

Anyway, I may start another thread on how to train some of the body connections.

RonRagusa
03-29-2017, 09:04 AM
Aiki Taiso exercises - Solo mind/body coordination training, not just warmups, elementary shaping of space via motion.
Push/Pull/Lift/Compress/Torque tests/exercises - Partnered mind/body coordination training, force management training, balancing of forces within oneself, grounding/accumulating/returning incoming energy strengthening of center via progressively increasing force loads, generation of internal power by amalgamation of self generated energy with incoming energy.
Solo work with bokken/jo - Mind/body coordination training, development of softness of touch, intermediate shaping of space via motion with inanimate partner.
Partnered work with bokken/jo - Mind/body coordination training, delivering/receiving (nage/uke) power generated by unified mind and body,
Technique practice - Partnered mind/body training, advanced shaping of space via motion with one or more animate partner(s), delivery and governing of power generated by unified mind and body (nage), receiving and managing power generated by unified mind and body (uke).

Emphasis on recognizing and internalizing correct feeling associated with successful utilization of unified mind and body in performance of the above. Over time the student becomes more familiar with the feeling of mind/body coordination and is able to call on the feeling at will thereby maximizing performance.

Ron

Budd
03-29-2017, 09:29 AM
Thanks for contributing, Ron, what you describe makes sense. Where in your activities would you emphasize the balancing of ground/gravity forces (in addition to the forces brought by a training partner or training tool such as a bokken) as enablers or additives?

Alec Corper
03-29-2017, 09:59 AM
Aiki Taiso exercises - Solo mind/body coordination training, not just warmups, elementary shaping of space via motion.
Push/Pull/Lift/Compress/Torque tests/exercises - Partnered mind/body coordination training, force management training, balancing of forces within oneself, grounding/accumulating/returning incoming energy strengthening of center via progressively increasing force loads, generation of internal power by amalgamation of self generated energy with incoming energy.
Solo work with bokken/jo - Mind/body coordination training, development of softness of touch, intermediate shaping of space via motion with inanimate partner.
Partnered work with bokken/jo - Mind/body coordination training, delivering/receiving (nage/uke) power generated by unified mind and body,
Technique practice - Partnered mind/body training, advanced shaping of space via motion with one or more animate partner(s), delivery and governing of power generated by unified mind and body (nage), receiving and managing power generated by unified mind and body (uke).

Emphasis on recognizing and internalizing correct feeling associated with successful utilization of unified mind and body in performance of the above. Over time the student becomes more familiar with the feeling of mind/body coordination and is able to call on the feeling at will thereby maximizing performance.

Ron

Hello Ron,
Would you describe just one aiki taiso done as an internal training method, what makes it other than a warm up and what aspect of body/ mind coordination is required? I ask because i also use aiki taiso as internal training, i wonder how you actually do it.
Alec

Budd
03-29-2017, 10:32 AM
My experience has been that aiki taiso movements by themselves don't automatically imbue the ki/qi thingies without knowing what to train from the ground/gravity, body connections perspective (or getting the transmission directly from someone that made them one thing - I think that needs to be acknowledged as a reason the skills can be shared as well as perishable over the span of generations - someone might have gotten the goods but wouldn't or couldn't articulate them for subsequent generations). That said, those using them to build those skills - would love to hear some of the details. They are a good container for practicing connection, force issuance, force reception, breath connectivity, opening and closing the body, supporting the frame with breath and intent, etc.

Alec Corper
03-29-2017, 12:00 PM
For those with a little patience for reading and the ability to extrapolate data.
Why mindfulness in training can be beneficial at the level of physical ability not just for tree huggers. This

http://www.fasciaresearch.de/Schleip_TrainingPrinciplesFascial.pdf

Budd
03-29-2017, 12:54 PM
Nice find, Alec!

Budd
03-29-2017, 01:06 PM
From the article Alec linked:

"In fact, it
was found that many aspects of known movement practices
- like rhythmic gymnastic, modern dance, plyometrics,
gyrokinesis, chi running, yoga or martial arts, just to name
a few e contain elements which are very congruent with
the following suggestions. However, these practices have
often been inspired by an intuitive search for elegance,
pleasure and beauty, and/or they were often linked with
non-fascia related theoretical explanation concepts. The
novel aspect of the proposed approach is therefore to
selectively develop training suggestions, which specifically
target an optimal renewal of the fascial net (rather than
e.g. muscular tissues or cardiovascular conditioning) and
which are directly linked with the above outlined specific
insights from the rapidly growing field of fascia research."

I find this very related to the discussion we've been having regarding linking ki/qi thingies/phenomenon to very physical attributes - rather than the more nebulous "well it could be anything and/or everything" that sometimes can come up.

Additionally, the next part of the article talks to "preparatory counter movement" which is very much aligned to what 'reverse breathing' aims to initiate (in addition to reverse breathing's means as a way to condition the connections themselves).

RonRagusa
03-29-2017, 01:54 PM
Thanks for contributing, Ron, what you describe makes sense. Where in your activities would you emphasize the balancing of ground/gravity forces (in addition to the forces brought by a training partner or training tool such as a bokken) as enablers or additives?

Hi Budd -

The way I emphasize the balancing of ground/gravity forces is that they net to zero at the point where my feet meet the ground. So I don't see the ground as contributing any energy that can be converted to power in me. The ground does provide me with a solid base from which I can generate and project power.

Gravity however, does contribute to my mass as perceived by my partner (weight underside). If my body is tense or my joints locked (resulting in a body that is less than optimally integrated) then as I attempt to execute technique my partner won't feel the full effect of my mass plus the acceleration of gravity on my mass (since tension and locked joints impede the effect of gravitational acceleration). For example, if I'm practicing tenchi nage and I lock my shoulder up at our point of contact, my partner will feel it as an arm throw that I am muscling thru. OTOH, if I am relaxed and pliable my partner feels all of my mass augmented by the acceleration due to gravity, coming to bear on him as I execute the throw. Using that same tenchi nage as an example; at the point of contact my partner will feel as though my whole body is moving thru him while we're barely making contact.

Working with forces applied by a partner are what the push/pull/lift/compress/torque exercises are all about. Those exercises, which may have begun as a means of testing mind/body coordination, have evolved to where they now enable the student to experience dealing with and managing stresses applied to various parts of the body in situations that have been stripped of the complex motions involved with technique.

We have many basic mind/body coordination exercises (as we call them) and variations on each, in our syllabus. The basic exercises emphasize helping the student ground an incoming force while remaining in a static position. The variations introduce storage and/or returning of the incoming force while in a static position or moving the body while the force continues being applied while the feet remain stationary.

I think a bit of a disclaimer is necessary here. While I've tried to explain this stuff using the terminology that appears in this thread, doing so is quite alien to me when placed alongside how I was taught and teach. I was taught to feel my way thru the exercises and make the feeling part of myself without worrying about the hows, whys and wherefores of what was going on that made everything work. So as a result you'll find my explanations something of a polyglot of terminology.

Ron

Budd
03-29-2017, 02:17 PM
Hi Budd -

The way I emphasize the balancing of ground/gravity forces is that they net to zero at the point where my feet meet the ground. So I don't see the ground as contributing any energy that can be converted to power in me. The ground does provide me with a solid base from which I can generate and project power.

Gravity however, does contribute to my mass as perceived by my partner (weight underside). If my body is tense or my joints locked (resulting in a body that is less than optimally integrated) then as I attempt to execute technique my partner won't feel the full effect of my mass plus the acceleration of gravity on my mass (since tension and locked joints impede the effect of gravitational acceleration). For example, if I'm practicing tenchi nage and I lock my shoulder up at our point of contact, my partner will feel it as an arm throw that I am muscling thru. OTOH, if I am relaxed and pliable my partner feels all of my mass augmented by the acceleration due to gravity, coming to bear on him as I execute the throw. Using that same tenchi nage as an example; at the point of contact my partner will feel as though my whole body is moving thru him while we're barely making contact.

Working with forces applied by a partner are what the push/pull/lift/compress/torque exercises are all about. Those exercises, which may have begun as a means of testing mind/body coordination, have evolved to where they now enable the student to experience dealing with and managing stresses applied to various parts of the body in situations that have been stripped of the complex motions involved with technique.

We have many basic mind/body coordination exercises (as we call them) and variations on each, in our syllabus. The basic exercises emphasize helping the student ground an incoming force while remaining in a static position. The variations introduce storage and/or returning of the incoming force while in a static position or moving the body while the force continues being applied while the feet remain stationary.

I think a bit of a disclaimer is necessary here. While I've tried to explain this stuff using the terminology that appears in this thread, doing so is quite alien to me when placed alongside how I was taught and teach. I was taught to feel my way thru the exercises and make the feeling part of myself without worrying about the hows, whys and wherefores of what was going on that made everything work. So as a result you'll find my explanations something of a polyglot of terminology.

Ron

No worries, I appreciate the care you've taken in trying to get the language to be more generic and I absolutely get that there's potentially that divide in trying to decouple the elements of one's practice vs. how they were shown and in turn how they train day to day.

RonRagusa
03-29-2017, 02:25 PM
Hello Ron,
Would you describe just one aiki taiso done as an internal training method, what makes it other than a warm up and what aspect of body/ mind coordination is required? I ask because i also use aiki taiso as internal training, i wonder how you actually do it.
Alec

Hi Alec -

Let's use rowing motion as an example. The movements comprising rowing motion are simple and can be learned in a matter of minutes. However learning to perform the movements and learning to perform the movements with mind/body coordination are two different things.

When I first learned rowing motion I remember hearing "hips, hands, hips, hands" a lot. At first I saw it as a simple way to remember the mechanical sequence of movements. The fact that my center is located in the area of my hips and that my upper body and lower body are linked via my center didn't occur to me until much later. Consequently I performed the exercise as being primarily driven by the motion of my hips.

Over time, I began to feel the inefficiencies of moving that way. My motion felt disjointed, not at all integrated. Once I realized that my center was a connector, not a leader, I began to feel the sequence of individual movements that drive the exercise. The energy of the movement radiated from my center and my movements followed in a logical sequence that ended with my hands being thrust forward and then dragged back as I completed one cycle. In class I tell students to have their hands arrive last and leave last.

Because the movements of the exercise are so simple, once learned it's easy to just run thru it by rote and anticipate getting on to the "good stuff" of tossing people around. Often, while students are working on rowing motion I'll move around class and test them with a slight push at the small of the back as they move forward. If they don't have proper coordination of mind and body they'll invariably pitch forward, failing to properly manage the force I'm applying.

All of the aiki taiso exercises are practiced in this manner. Each one has something unique to offer in the way helping students learn to center and strengthen mind/body coordination.

Ron

Alec Corper
03-30-2017, 08:15 AM
Hi Alec -

Let's use rowing motion as an example. The movements comprising rowing motion are simple and can be learned in a matter of minutes. However learning to perform the movements and learning to perform the movements with mind/body coordination are two different things.

When I first learned rowing motion I remember hearing "hips, hands, hips, hands" a lot. At first I saw it as a simple way to remember the mechanical sequence of movements. The fact that my center is located in the area of my hips and that my upper body and lower body are linked via my center didn't occur to me until much later. Consequently I performed the exercise as being primarily driven by the motion of my hips.

Over time, I began to feel the inefficiencies of moving that way. My motion felt disjointed, not at all integrated. Once I realized that my center was a connector, not a leader, I began to feel the sequence of individual movements that drive the exercise. The energy of the movement radiated from my center and my movements followed in a logical sequence that ended with my hands being thrust forward and then dragged back as I completed one cycle. In class I tell students to have their hands arrive last and leave last.
Ron

Hello Ron,
Thanks for the reply. I have a few comments from my own experience and learning outside of aikido which I use now and have done for quite some years.

What you describe above about torifune is a perfect example of why modern aikido in many ways has not progressed for years. In your own words you learnt it as a series of mechanical movements. This is part of the diminishing returns on the traditional model of "try to copy what you see, do what I do, " mode of instruction. I am not invested in the arguments that surround the why of this: did the teachers actually understand what they were teaching, did they hide it on purpose, is it only for those who can se it???
It is simply the fact that in many dojos people do all sorts of exercises with the belief that it adds something to their aikido without knowing what it is supposed to add or ascertaining if it does so.

Later you say, and I find it very confusing, you realised that your centre was a connector not a leader. For me it is exactly that, it is the leader of everything that happens in the body, if I really want coordination of body and mind. In training I may need my mind to make contact with my centre for a very long time, this is the really boring part for many. Eventually however, the centre leads. the next part i agree with, the hands arrive and leave after the centre, elongating the tissue and increasing the rubbery texture of the connections from tandem to limbs. this also create whip like circularity in the aiki taiso exercise of figure eight spinning when your arms and hands are apparently moving in the opposite direction to the centre.

What internal instructions do you give your feet in terms of using the ground? Do you actually transfer you weight 70/30 backwards and forwards as many schools do? What are your knees doing?

Please don't be offended by me asking these questions but whilst I fully accept that you are doing serious, sincere training, is it possible we have fundamentally different views on what internal work is? I do not dismiss other people's aikido, each to their own, this is an attempt to find the bridge.

RonRagusa
03-30-2017, 10:11 AM
Hi Alec -

In your own words you learnt it as a series of mechanical movements.

To be fair, while I did indeed learn rowing motion as a series of mechanical movements, that's not to say I was taught the exercise that way. When I began training I didn't have much interest in ki exercises. For me they were "just" warmups so I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the explanations of the underlying concepts they were designed to illustrate. Those realizations came later.

What can I say, I was young and a whole lot smarter then than I am now. :rolleyes:

Later you say, and I find it very confusing, you realised that your centre was a connector not a leader. For me it is exactly that, it is the leader of everything that happens in the body, if I really want coordination of body and mind.

I'll try to explain. If you've ever watched beginners perform rowing motion you've probably seen some of them initiating the motion by thrusting the hips forward with the rest of the body following along later.

While the center is the source of unified movement, if it doesn't connect the upper and lower parts of the body, you get the hip thrusting movement described above. Once I felt that connection I began to see "moving from the center" in a new light.

In training I may need my mind to make contact with my centre for a very long time, this is the really boring part for many.

Are you referring to your conscious mind above, as in having to think about connecting mind and body? During practice (actually interacting with one or more partners) I strive for a mind/body state that, metaphorically speaking, puts the conscious mind to sleep. There's no me, no partner(s), only the thing we become as we move together. For me, this is most evident during randori practice where the constant repetition of attacks requires that I remain in that state before, during and after the attack has been executed.

Maintaining that state is more difficult during regular waza practice where I have a tendency to self evaluate between repetitions. It's more difficult still when practicing the aiki taiso exercises. I expect this is due to the simplicity of the movements. It's easy for the mind to wander. :o

the hands arrive and leave after the centre, elongating the tissue and increasing the rubbery texture of the connections from tandem to limbs. this also create whip like circularity in the aiki taiso exercise of figure eight spinning when your arms and hands are apparently moving in the opposite direction to the centre.

Yes.

What internal instructions do you give your feet in terms of using the ground? Do you actually transfer you weight 70/30 backwards and forwards as many schools do? What are your knees doing?

Since I have experienced a lot of push/pull... testing while practicing rowing motion, I have developed and internalized what's referred to as correct feeling when performing the exercise. Consequently, I don't engage in an internal dialog around what to do. I let the feeling associated with performing the exercise correctly, guide the movement.

Please don't be offended by me asking these questions but whilst I fully accept that you are doing serious, sincere training, is it possible we have fundamentally different views on what internal work is? I do not dismiss other people's aikido, each to their own, this is an attempt to find the bridge.

I welcome the questions. Questioning spurs thinking and reflection.

From what I've read in your posts on the subject, I don't think we have fundamental differences regarding what internal work is. I do think we are employing different training methodologies in order to achieve our goals. Kind of like Newton and Leibniz each pursuing the calculus using different notational schemes.

This thread, if it continues to develop along these lines, may go a long to help bridge the gap.

Ron

Alec Corper
03-30-2017, 10:56 AM
Quote:
Alec Corper wrote: View Post
In training I may need my mind to make contact with my centre for a very long time, this is the really boring part for many.
Are you referring to your conscious mind above, as in having to think about connecting mind and body? During practice (actually interacting with one or more partners) I strive for a mind/body state that, metaphorically speaking, puts the conscious mind to sleep. There's no me, no partner(s), only the thing we become as we move together. For me, this is most evident during randori practice where the constant repetition of attacks requires that I remain in that state before, during and after the attack has been executed.

No I'm referring to aiki taiso as solo practice. i am also referring to a particular state of consciousness that is observer rather than volitional. This is also why i refer to awakening the connections. You can't use an ambitious consciousness, it gets in its own way. I understand what you mean by "correct feeling" ( I believe I do!) but I question that as a didactic method for others. If you can't do it ,your students can't feel it. If they feel it, how did you get there and how will they reproduce it. i think this strays from the original topic but my experience is that it is very difficult to learn with instructions like, "relax feel your centre, move your energy," etc. At a later stage those comments have a refernce which we often believe we share with others but actually rarely do. Some people decry precision in training methods because they were never exposed to anything other than external technical instruction. When I started seriously working with people outside of aikido about ten years ago i found i had to reexamine pretty much everything and then continue to do so, shoshin is not only a state of mind it is an activity.

Maintaining that state is more difficult during regular waza practice where I have a tendency to self evaluate between repetitions. It's more difficult still when practicing the aiki taiso exercises. I expect this is due to the simplicity of the movements. It's easy for the mind to wander.

I guess that is partly what I am pointing to. I don't think the movements are simple at all and if I can't do them solo I definitely can't do them in waza. I do sometimes use the freeze method to pressure test during the execution of technique, not during a throw or a lock but on the way or after. This is pretty hard to do with oneself but interesting if you can be honest and not make artificial adjustments.

jonreading
03-30-2017, 11:50 AM
At the end of the day, if I am going to change my training, I want it to be for a good reason, right? We all do ikkyo a little differently. Why? Because [presumably] we all feel our variation is a better for how we move. So there is some amount of burden when someone tells me why their ikkyo is better. If it is, then I might look at implementing that change in how I move, how I train that movement, and how I understand that movement affects my larger understanding of ikkyo. It's not necessarily a critique of other ikkyo's, but a priority on my ikkyo.

I think most of the internal camps are usually aligned in some sense with the basics. We are looking to create fullness in our body (i.e. no slack, aiki body, stability, etc.); we are looking to create whole body connection and awareness (one thing moves, everything moves); we are looking to generate unusual power; we are looking to create kuzushi on contact; we are looking to find movement pattern within the context of maintaining integrity. I might be missing a few things, but these at least cut across the basics of a couple different internals with which I am familiar. So when I am reading through whatever materials I read, I kinda try to put answers into one of these categories. For example, I might hear about an exercise that is designed to improve connection so I am going to be critical of the why's, what's, and how's of the exercise. I guess I am kinda echoeing Alec, here.

For example, as an early introduction to stability, we practice push resistance, right? Is that because push resistance is the exercise? Or, is that because if you have proper connection, push resistance is a positive outcome from that body training? I think there a number of aikido exercises that became the thing instead of checking if the thing is right. Is maybe "removing the slack" the exercise, and pushing a test on the relative success of our progress? If so, how do we remove slack from our body?

On a related note, we have practices that are supposed to change how our body works, right? We are supposed to develop connections, strengthen joints and connective tissues, increase whole-body power and any number of other physical changes. How long does that take? 1 year? 10 years? 20 years? How does that compare to training that remain consistent for many years in a row? I was involved in years of body conditioning for sports during which I never maintained a consistent training regime for longer than 6 months because my body reacted to the training. I got stronger, more flexible, and apply the movement to dynamic action. I was able to use heavier weights, increase my range of motion, and apply the training to dynamic movement (like hitting or running).

Why the heck would I stand like a post for 10 minutes? If you ask me to stand like a post for 10 minutes every day for a year, how would I notice the fruits of that labor? It's like a bad flash-forward scene from a Chinese martial arts movie, to see how the simple exercises pay dividends. My personal favorite is when you can only watch other monks train, but you can't train yourself...

Budd
03-30-2017, 03:02 PM
Jon, you just listed out 2 other topics for potentially good threads. (Generally, a discussion of the logical progression in internal training and I think that can vary based on style, goals, completeness of information, etc. . . More specifically, a discussion of the benefit of training against a push, immediate goals, longer term goals, etc. If no one else does, I may start them)

I think another topic that's good - especially for Internal training for Aikido - is to do with which skills are most important to focus on first - I'd argue the ki components described by peng jin in the Chinese sense, i.e. ground force are most important, which is the basis of this thread. Especially if you buy into the idea of aikido as irimi being the go-to primary strategy of engagement (there is no tenkan without irimi). What implications does that have on the type of bodyskills that are needed for irimi (and then also informing irimi-tenkan)?

So if we think of peng-jin i.e. ground connection force (i.e. the ability to bring the solidity of ground up through you, your hands, head, shoulder, etc.). How can you initially train it in an aikido context (pushing sounds good, but translate pushing into techniques and tai sabaki)? What should you watch out for (e.g. when does good groundpath give way to a failed irimi that becomes an irimi tankan)?

GovernorSilver
03-30-2017, 03:17 PM
Why the heck would I stand like a post for 10 minutes? If you ask me to stand like a post for 10 minutes every day for a year, how would I notice the fruits of that labor?...

Like I said in the other thread, I practice this way because the teachers I've studied with encourage it. Sigman though is the only one who pointed out that it is more beneficial when used to practice force vectors - ground at the very minimum, then gravity to start. I seem to be getting results, though Budd will obviously be the judge of that when he sees me again. ;)

If my teachers tell me tomorrow to stop practicing zhan zhuang (standing pole) because it's making me suck, I would stop it.

If your teacher is not telling you to do it, then you should be fine. Don't worry about it. ;) Good teachers often prescribe different things to different students, depending on where each person is at in his/her development.

Budd
03-30-2017, 03:50 PM
True, Paolo and some of the activities that are trained over time have implications regarding the type of development that will be done. Some skills are a lot more approachable right away - for instance, if you recall, we covered jin ground/gravity force in an evening, but it was reinforced again the next day - however the connection based work can be done in many different ways with a lot of different types of "connected" bodies as a result.

In the "ground connection" work - there's how you'll be able to bring the ground force up through your body based on your initial body development (which, if you have a lots of local muscle development, or no muscle development, or the some other suboptimal development, will be more limited than otherwise). Over time, you can build more skill in your abilities to bring the ground force up as well as engage the down force as strength additives. The body connections that most effectively transmit these external forces take longer to develop.

The model I follow stresses a very long process over time to develop the body connections to not only most optimally convey the external forces (and harmonizing with another person's force is fair game), but then also to take more advantage of the way the bone-muscle-tendon-tissues connect to use the mental management of ground-gravity forces along with the elastic and pressurized strengths of those connections to fundamentally move. These also have ramifications in terms of how you apply your martial art as well, which in aikido definitely has implications for kuzushi, atemi, using locks to control a frame vs. joint, etc.

Anyways, enjoying the discussion, I appreciate everyone's contributions.

RonRagusa
03-30-2017, 11:08 PM
I understand what you mean by "correct feeling" ( I believe I do!) but I question that as a didactic method for others. If you can't do it ,your students can't feel it. If they feel it, how did you get there and how will they reproduce it. i think this strays from the original topic but my experience is that it is very difficult to learn with instructions like, "relax feel your centre, move your energy," etc. You're right Alec, it does stray from the original topic. At the risk of further thread drift I'd just like to say that I can do it, I was taught to feel it and reproduce the feeling at will. I teach my students to do it and feel it as well. The teaching doesn't involve verbal instructions other than to provide useful reference points to reinforce the hands on training.

None of our internal training is done in a vacuum. All of the things I outlined in my first post in this thread form an interconnected network of tools designed for the express purpose of getting students to experience that correct feeling, internalize it, strengthen it and use it.

I'm straying too far off topic so I think I'll sit back and read along awhile.

All the best.

Ron

Currawong
03-31-2017, 12:23 AM
At the end of the day, if I am going to change my training, I want it to be for a good reason, right? We all do ikkyo a little differently. Why? Because [presumably] we all feel our variation is a better for how we move. So there is some amount of burden when someone tells me why their ikkyo is better. If it is, then I might look at implementing that change in how I move, how I train that movement, and how I understand that movement affects my larger understanding of ikkyo. It's not necessarily a critique of other ikkyo's, but a priority on my ikkyo.

I think most of the internal camps are usually aligned in some sense with the basics. We are looking to create fullness in our body (i.e. no slack, aiki body, stability, etc.); we are looking to create whole body connection and awareness (one thing moves, everything moves); we are looking to generate unusual power; we are looking to create kuzushi on contact; we are looking to find movement pattern within the context of maintaining integrity. I might be missing a few things, but these at least cut across the basics of a couple different internals with which I am familiar. So when I am reading through whatever materials I read, I kinda try to put answers into one of these categories. For example, I might hear about an exercise that is designed to improve connection so I am going to be critical of the why's, what's, and how's of the exercise. I guess I am kinda echoeing Alec, here.

For example, as an early introduction to stability, we practice push resistance, right? Is that because push resistance is the exercise? Or, is that because if you have proper connection, push resistance is a positive outcome from that body training? I think there a number of aikido exercises that became the thing instead of checking if the thing is right. Is maybe "removing the slack" the exercise, and pushing a test on the relative success of our progress? If so, how do we remove slack from our body?

On a related note, we have practices that are supposed to change how our body works, right? We are supposed to develop connections, strengthen joints and connective tissues, increase whole-body power and any number of other physical changes. How long does that take? 1 year? 10 years? 20 years? How does that compare to training that remain consistent for many years in a row? I was involved in years of body conditioning for sports during which I never maintained a consistent training regime for longer than 6 months because my body reacted to the training. I got stronger, more flexible, and apply the movement to dynamic action. I was able to use heavier weights, increase my range of motion, and apply the training to dynamic movement (like hitting or running).

Why the heck would I stand like a post for 10 minutes? If you ask me to stand like a post for 10 minutes every day for a year, how would I notice the fruits of that labor? It's like a bad flash-forward scene from a Chinese martial arts movie, to see how the simple exercises pay dividends. My personal favorite is when you can only watch other monks train, but you can't train yourself...

I think this post is spot-on. It brings to mind a comment in an interview with Ellis Amdur (http://www.guillaumeerard.com/aikido/articles/the-origin-and-purpose-of-solo-practice-in-aikido):

It is obvious however that some great teachers have independently developed more explicit individual exercises such as tanren (strengthening techniques), one of whom was Sagawa Yukiyoshi, whom I mentioned above. Kuroda Tetsuzan has developed his own set of solo exercises and he told Amdur that the reason was that none of his students was willing to dedicate the amount of time or talent required to practice kata in the way that it was practiced before, where they would have naturally acquired the skills that his solo exercises foster.

I suspect much of the issue surrounds the difference between people who took up a martial art to become it, versus most of us for whom it is something that is a part, even a very significant part, but not our whole lives. To make it more, we have to practice in a way where we are conscious of our body and how it is positioned or moving constantly, even when we are not in the dojo. That is very difficult, if not impossible for most people, as just as we lack a good development of physical internal connections, so too does our personality (or ego), causing us to lose any self-awareness we have, much of the time. I've found that spending as many spare minutes as I can -- standing waiting for the elevator, sitting at red lights, waiting for Aikido class to begin -- doing anything to be conscious of my body or even small and simple connected movements to add up to a significant difference in my development, both physically and otherwise.

Alec Corper
03-31-2017, 03:58 AM
At the end of the day, if I am going to change my training, I want it to be for a good reason, right? We all do ikkyo a little differently. Why? Because [presumably] we all feel our variation is a better for how we move. So there is some amount of burden when someone tells me why their ikkyo is better. If it is, then I might look at implementing that change in how I move, how I train that movement, and how I understand that movement affects my larger understanding of ikkyo. It's not necessarily a critique of other ikkyo's, but a priority on my ikkyo.

[I]I understand why you say that people do what they do because it feels better for how we move. I see two problems. The first, if we move wrong (in a whole body sense) what feels "bette"r fits an already misaligned, poorly connected structure, and , second, I'm not even sure that we can decide if an ikkyo is "better" without understanding the conditions that call for ikkyo. Even our understanding of what working with "resistant" partners in aikido derives from a setup, the uke/ tori relationship that has been so misunderstood in aikido that what we have inherited often creates more problems than improvements. My working model of aikido is takemusu, techniques are born from spontaneous matching of body qualities and ingrained skills to the conditions of that moment. So, to me, polishing skills upon the wrong conditions is just improving fundamental mistakes. When aiki works there is no "resisting" opponent[, that may be too much of an ideal, but that is my guiding notion./I]

I think most of the internal camps are usually aligned in some sense with the basics. We are looking to create fullness in our body (i.e. no slack, aiki body, stability, etc.); we are looking to create whole body connection and awareness (one thing moves, everything moves); we are looking to generate unusual power; we are looking to create kuzushi on contact; we are looking to find movement pattern within the context of maintaining integrity. I might be missing a few things, but these at least cut across the basics of a couple different internals with which I am familiar. So when I am reading through whatever materials I read, I kinda try to put answers into one of these categories. For example, I might hear about an exercise that is designed to improve connection so I am going to be critical of the why's, what's, and how's of the exercise. I guess I am kinda echoeing Alec, here.

Yes, I think we should have some agreement of the general territories and pedagogy. There will be differences and if people have been hands on with Akuzawa, Dan harden and Sam Chin they will have felt commonalities and differences. They would have also heard differences in their models. I am personally working my own hybrid and continue to test it out. I only teach it to those who have a solid base in aikido or other martial arts, but have also done field testing with guys who come from CQC background and FMA.

For example, as an early introduction to stability, we practice push resistance, right? Is that because push resistance is the exercise? Or, is that because if you have proper connection, push resistance is a positive outcome from that body training? I think there a number of aikido exercises that became the thing instead of checking if the thing is right. Is maybe "removing the slack" the exercise, and pushing a test on the relative success of our progress? If so, how do we remove slack from our body?

Spot on!. It is often said that atemi is 90% of aikido in a real encounter so people without a striking background throw a few meaningless punches at non-existent targets, and those who enter with a striking background try to graft those methods into aikido to make aikido "more effective"! With an inflated, primed body, with aiki ready to fire at any point of contact, aiki atemi more closely resembles CQC than something artistic. Once contact is made with the opponents body that contact is unbroken, the opponent cannot disengage nor create the space to defend or counter attack. In fact, at this point in time, if i switch from absorb to project mode iIneed to be aware that many aikido locks and throws become too short range with the power staying in ukes body rather than sending them away. I am not happy with that and need to be careful. Every lock is a throw or a strike, every step is a kick or a sweep.

On a related note, we have practices that are supposed to change how our body works, right? We are supposed to develop connections, strengthen joints and connective tissues, increase whole-body power and any number of other physical changes. How long does that take? 1 year? 10 years? 20 years? How does that compare to training that remain consistent for many years in a row? I was involved in years of body conditioning for sports during which I never maintained a consistent training regime for longer than 6 months because my body reacted to the training. I got stronger, more flexible, and apply the movement to dynamic action. I was able to use heavier weights, increase my range of motion, and apply the training to dynamic movement (like hitting or running).

Why the heck would I stand like a post for 10 minutes? If you ask me to stand like a post for 10 minutes every day for a year, how would I notice the fruits of that labor? It's like a bad flash-forward scene from a Chinese martial arts movie, to see how the simple exercises pay dividends. My personal favorite is when you can only watch other monks train, but you can't train yourself...

Well, it's funny that this thread was about rooting and standing. In my mind we are still there. HEM creates real awareness of dantien and the fullness feel. For me, Peng is not the upward force of the 4 jins of tai Chi but is the 6 directional sphere that fills and expands to the "tip of the tongue and the hairs on the arms" to quote an old Chinese classic. Do we generate the spirals in the legs and arms or do we awaken our "stupid" wiring and cause more power to flow through YI directed movement. Does our dantien simultaneously press down into our legs and feet to root and rise upwards to pass power back into the upper body? I'm happy to move on to others areas in these discussions, even though I'm not sure we have done this topic justice yet. :cool:

Budd
03-31-2017, 07:30 AM
Agreed, Alec - I'd argue that dantien doesn't legitimately manifest until after you've gotten some degree of jin skill/development and connection conditioning/development and that the spherical sensation you're indicating is a result of the two balanced jin forces we've been talking about here meeting in the middle and producing that net combination of power that you can then legitimately directing through any part of the body (as the combination of up/down directed on all sides in any direction) IF you've trained the qi/ki connections of the body (bone-muscle-tendon-tissue).

It's almost ridiculous in its simplicity but the devil's in so many details of hands-on instruction, repeatable framework, individual willingness to be accountable for training/development, ability to course-correct the inevitable erroneous tangents that come up, talent, intelligence, physical ability (which I guess the net sum of those things is true for any physical discipline).

I'd also posit that this type of training is misleading a bit using the Western model of conditioning the body doing the same exercise. Rather than diminishing returns over time for the same drill/workload, you have the same drill testing some evolving net combination of mental/physical/training/wiring/conditioning in a seemingly innocuous series of movements that only allow the more advanced training in those movements once some of the developmental checkpoints/milestones have been addressed (see the facial network study Alec posted, it somewhat indicates that early stages are a mostly mental rewiring with minimal physical development until sufficient time, impulse and stimulus are achieved performing seemingly repetitive developmental tasks to activate the connected tissue in a way that trains the overall combination of connected tissue).

Again, good stuff. Though I think the next three perhaps separate threads might be - training the connections over time with developmental milestones and linkages back to ki/jin, the overall suite of skills that should be represented as a baseline, then eventually the application side in how it starts to influence how techniques are trained, productive randori/shiai are enabled, etc.

Alec Corper
03-31-2017, 08:03 AM
Agreed, Alec - I'd argue that dantien doesn't legitimately manifest until after you've gotten some degree of jin skill/development and connection conditioning/development and that the spherical sensation you're indicating is a result of the two balanced jin forces we've been talking about here meeting in the middle and producing that net combination of power that you can then legitimately directing through any part of the body (as the combination of up/down directed on all sides in any direction) IF you've trained the qi/ki connections of the body (bone-muscle-tendon-tissue).

No argument from me, perhaps only the distinction between causing and recognising. If you can successfully stand with heaven and earth, pretty difficult, IMHO, then you have the condition in which certain sensations begin to manifest. I try to build my training upon recognising the manifestation of opposite forces everywhere. The ability to find and multiply as you say later, forms the idea of a ball with centres everywhere.

It's almost ridiculous in its simplicity but the devil's in so many details of hands-on instruction, repeatable framework, individual willingness to be accountable for training/development, ability to course-correct the inevitable erroneous tangents that come up, talent, intelligence, physical ability (which I guess the net sum of those things is true for any physical discipline).

I'd also posit that this type of training is misleading a bit using the Western model of conditioning the body doing the same exercise. Rather than diminishing returns over time for the same drill/workload, you have the same drill testing some evolving net combination of mental/physical/training/wiring/conditioning in a seemingly innocuous series of movements that only allow the more advanced training in those movements once some of the developmental checkpoints/milestones have been addressed (see the facial network study Alec posted, it somewhat indicates that early stages are a mostly mental rewiring with minimal physical development until sufficient time, impulse and stimulus are achieved performing seemingly repetitive developmental tasks to activate the connected tissue in a way that trains the overall combination of connected tissue).

I think this is where you need to be blown away a few times by someone of a very high skill level, where it is almost impossible to only ascribe what has haopened to physical skills. I distinguish between body qualities, skills applied with those qualities, and fighting skills. Moving with a connected structure with forces applied to the body at different points and then feeling that force can be grounded and dissipated or bounced back, or moved elsewhere form the basis of fa jin. We could also examine how to develop ting jin within the uke/tori relationship, a thorny problem since this model is so fundamental to aikido practice.

Again, good stuff. Though I think the next three perhaps separate threads might be - training the connections over time with developmental milestones and linkages back to ki/jin, the overall suite of skills that should be represented as a baseline, then eventually the application side in how it starts to influence how techniques are trained, productive randori/shiai are enabled, etc.

As I mentioned in response to Jon I see a more explosive kind of issuing force starts to emerge when you are holding opposing forces. i rarely hear people say this. Maybe it's my problem ;) The peng ball (or jin) can be used for defensive purpose only but I have found that to be a far higher level of skill than most people acknowledge.

regards

jonreading
03-31-2017, 08:18 AM
When I remember first looking into internal power, I was bombarded with a level of sophistication that I was not able to separate into usable content. It was much the same critique that I have leveraged against aikido instruction, in general. "Welcome to your second class, now let me tell you about life-giving sword." What!!? My grumpy post is more about bringing back simple questions... Why do I care about a connection with the ground? How do I know if I am grounding? Is grounding the same thing as dissipating force? Why /not? What exercises develop my sensation of a "down" force? Same questions, but what about "up"?

If I make a 165 lb. pyramid of slick rubber and place it on the ground, does it care about connection to the ground? How immovable is that object, just because of its solidity? Starting small, I think our first task is to unify the body and turn our slinky-quality loose bodies into chunks of rubber. Immovable object and all that. Solo exercises that change the body are the way to do this work and set the stage for thing 2, managing incoming force. How can we train these aspects 100% of the time? Because eventually, my goal is to 100% of the time have a connected body that can manage incoming forces.

Budd
03-31-2017, 08:27 AM
Agreed - it's just I've seen so many people rush to try to do fajin when they don't even have basic jin, let alone a connected body by which to do the store and release without a lot of power bleeding out because of local muscle interference, tension, etc. From a foundational perspective, I think it's more productive to spend the time building good ground/gravity and basic connection, because it might be better to train the issuance of power using the in-development tissue elasticity and layering in the rest of the muscle-bone-tendon-tissues appropriately as additives (darnit, the topic of another thread, I think).

So, it's not a matter of it not being a known thing or important, but from a timeline and milestone - it legitimately requires a lot of other building blocks first. Within aikido, it's certainly a game changer, but presumably people are attracted to aikido for some of the philosophical aspects, as well as the progression of partner exercises and practices (I mean at some points, ukemi is darned fun and practical to learn) - so there's no reason those things can't be manifest as a part of good aikido practice even while the "receiving body" is being built.

Over time ukemi as falling is less paramount and more that ukemi is increasingly a higher level skill in either "nullifying a grab/technique applied on you", "reversing it by making the two bodies one connected unit that you are harmonizing with ground/gravity", "receiving the incoming force as part of the elastic storage and pressurization of the whole body connections in a way that their power is added to your own even as you're optimizing the combined power chain via ground-gravity force intent management, elastically pressurized stretch and release to return their force along with your own" and so forth and so on . . .

jonreading
03-31-2017, 08:29 AM
I'd also posit that this type of training is misleading a bit using the Western model of conditioning the body doing the same exercise. Rather than diminishing returns over time for the same drill/workload, you have the same drill testing some evolving net combination of mental/physical/training/wiring/conditioning in a seemingly innocuous series of movements that only allow the more advanced training in those movements once some of the developmental checkpoints/milestones have been addressed (see the facial network study Alec posted, it somewhat indicates that early stages are a mostly mental rewiring with minimal physical development until sufficient time, impulse and stimulus are achieved performing seemingly repetitive developmental tasks to activate the connected tissue in a way that trains the overall combination of connected tissue).


I think this is actually a huge issue in aikido for people trying to train IP. Aikido classes are particularly structured and rote, even for the most innovative people. Many people just leave their training to the direction of the sensei. IP exercises need to be active and tailored to personal progress. In our dojo, we'll talk about things 1,2,3 as references to different focal points within exercises. Without any actual number in mind, you should be performing exercises differently after n period of time. Much like a physical workout, diminishing returns on an exercise are an indication that we need a change...for good or bad.

Alec Corper
03-31-2017, 08:29 AM
Jon,

That is why I said that we have not finished the standing section, Before we move on there is a lot more that can said about "making your slinky rubber into a happy bouncy ball". Think you know the answer to your own question about 100% results. You've trained with Dan. How long did it take him? Most of us started late and have some luggage to dump. Our bodies can improve with this stuff, up to a point, but I am not expecting to turn into Takeda next year.
A little anecdote; i am not very good at this stuff if i put myself next to the big guns out there, but i thought I was doing Ok. I touched hands with Sam Chin's youngest son, maybe 24 years old, solid as a rock , soft as a kitten. He handled me like a kid, much to Sam's amusement. The guy has been doing this stuff since he could crawl.So don't be too grumpy, it will only get worse ;-)

Alec

Budd
03-31-2017, 08:36 AM
When I remember first looking into internal power, I was bombarded with a level of sophistication that I was not able to separate into usable content. It was much the same critique that I have leveraged against aikido instruction, in general. "Welcome to your second class, now let me tell you about life-giving sword." What!!? My grumpy post is more about bringing back simple questions... Why do I care about a connection with the ground? How do I know if I am grounding? Is grounding the same thing as dissipating force? Why /not? What exercises develop my sensation of a "down" force? Same questions, but what about "up"?

If I make a 165 lb. pyramid of slick rubber and place it on the ground, does it care about connection to the ground? How immovable is that object, just because of its solidity? Starting small, I think our first task is to unify the body and turn our slinky-quality loose bodies into chunks of rubber. Immovable object and all that. Solo exercises that change the body are the way to do this work and set the stage for thing 2, managing incoming force. How can we train these aspects 100% of the time? Because eventually, my goal is to 100% of the time have a connected body that can manage incoming forces.

Well, Jon, I agree that starting simple is ideal. I think we might be running into differences of the model approach in that people aren't all using the same terms the same way. Simply put, I'm trying to align with the basics of ground/gravity force management as described by jin - the Chinese description that's somewhat included in the concept of ki in Japanese, but if we can agree that one of the very first skills to learn is to connect to the ground in a way that you can increasingly borrow its solidity as a trained skill. Thus, while "grounding" may be the entry way and a low level (not really practical skill beyond a checkpoint), it has a purpose to get people used to sourcing power lower than they might otherwise.

But it's a good discussion - this mix of "how are we each approaching it" "what's logical as a framework" then "what's ideal to optimize it within an already solid aikido/jujutsu training approach".

jonreading
03-31-2017, 12:50 PM
Jon,
A little anecdote; i am not very good at this stuff if i put myself next to the big guns out there, but i thought I was doing Ok. I touched hands with Sam Chin's youngest son, maybe 24 years old, solid as a rock , soft as a kitten. He handled me like a kid, much to Sam's amusement. The guy has been doing this stuff since he could crawl.So don't be too grumpy, it will only get worse ;-)

Alec

"Kiddie pool," is the phrase we throw around. We are in the kiddie pool. And it is eye-opening to see people use this stuff.

Budd
04-01-2017, 09:46 AM
I find it motivating and start trying to get as much information about what they're doing relative to what I'm doing (there's long been suspicions this type of info is closely guarded) and keep trying to optimize the training so any identified gaps get addressed - we're all human and have limited capacity, so have to make it count.

Alec, with regard to Sam's son, what did you perceive going on in your terms as it aligns to the topic and what you've been training?

Alec Corper
04-01-2017, 12:50 PM
I find it motivating and start trying to get as much information about what they're doing relative to what I'm doing (there's long been suspicions this type of info is closely guarded) and keep trying to optimize the training so any identified gaps get addressed - we're all human and have limited capacity, so have to make it count.

Alec, with regard to Sam's son, what did you perceive going on in your terms as it aligns to the topic and what you've been training?

I also find it motivating and fun, it wasn't a complaint. In fact, it is vital, especially if you want to improve to keep meeting people who are better. And I don't really feel like I'm still in the " kiddy pool", I can swim a bit just not so well yet:o

Picture a young guy around 24 built like a line backer, 110 kilo all thick muscle and tissue with a good level of ting jin. His peng attacks everywhere not just at the points of contact on the hands but hitting your leg structure as well. He is not at all threatening but your body feels threat because of the constant imbalance that are being revealed. This lead to me sticking to him because my body says he is hitting my center. This forces me to try to maintain my sphere until his movements take my balance leaving me open to strikes which thankfully he didn't follow up on. The major diagnostic for me was first touch is everything, if you are not ready, inflated, "on", you are just too late. No second chances. All the other aspects of training must produce this or you have nothing.
Sam Chin would say it's quite simple. Whoever is most ready will occupy the neutral line, and the other must fall away. From that point on, awareness and maintenance (same thing at his level) of the neutral, yin/yang blended structure produce a cascade of problems. Root begins to go, arms stiffen, listening diminishes, shoulders rise, etc.
Sam Chin invades more subtly, even though he can really mix it, if he chooses. His son is like a wall, he is like a bear on an ice rink with skates on.
P.S. His skates have got brakes and spurs!

Budd
04-01-2017, 02:13 PM
Great descriptions. Thanks, Alec. I think your point (and oft repeated by a number of peeps) about "being there first" is spot on. Also what I believe is meant by good irimi and kuzushi on contact. The more developed you are, the more these things become tangibly applicable.

Alec Corper
04-02-2017, 12:56 PM
So, just to push this thread a little further before we move on. In my mind being able to nullify, ground or bounce a push is a fundamental skill test and potential martial attribute. The corollary to this is being able to not get planted, double weighted or skewed as a setup for a throw or strike. So whilst I understand and can happily make use of the idea of rooting via the feet into the ground, the feet are also the re- entry point of earth rebound or up force, This means that the feet, just like the hands, have to unify up/down forces ( actually all 6 directions) to create extreme lightness as well as heaviness. This also is the potential for kicks that do not require antagonistic muscular action and are therefore harder to register since minimal wind up occurs. Of course, since aikido training usually eschews kicking this is not an issue for most. For a well rounded martial artist, using the legs and hands together makes great sense, both offensively and defensively. So getting away from the obvious wu shu and karate stretch and repeat approach,how do you use root to manifest power in the lower body? I have my own practice for this but I'm curious how others train.

Cady Goldfield
04-02-2017, 06:39 PM
A bit of illustration of Alec's comments: Sifu Sam F.S. Chin, and his eldest daughter, Yen Lee Chin, demonstrating at a kung fu tournament in New York, several years ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpZrDT1GFKw

Budd
04-02-2017, 08:49 PM
From an internal strength training of connection, ground-gravity powering a hit, whether hand or foot, it's the same mechanic, as demo'd here byou Wang Hai Jun.

https://youtu.be/PefklUE3Nw8

Alec Corper
04-03-2017, 02:12 AM
Thanks for the videos. Here is Akuzawa showing frame stepping. I know how it feels, I was holding the pad at the beginning!

https://youtu.be/p4GOEdKyee4

Budd, of course it is the same mechanic but there are aspects to the training of the lower body that differs form the upper, at least in my mind. I thought that whilst still on root it was important to examine lightness as an attribute of internal training. My take on kicking is more to do with "walking through " the opponents structure whilst moving whole body rather than doing something with the legs or feet. So I am looking to sustaining the root via daniten and kicking with mingmen.

Budd
04-03-2017, 07:51 AM
Hi Alec, my initial thought is that it takes a lot longer to develop the ki/qi in the legs the way you can initially in the trunk, arms and even hands/fingers. I like Akuzawa's stepping for initial weight transference, even as I aspirationally train more towards what WHJ was demonstrating.

Cady Goldfield
04-04-2017, 12:58 PM
Hi Alec, my initial thought is that it takes a lot longer to develop the ki/qi in the legs the way you can initially in the trunk, arms and even hands/fingers. I like Akuzawa's stepping for initial weight transference, even as I aspirationally train more towards what WHJ was demonstrating.

You may start with working the trunk, as many do, but to feel "qi" in the legs, you must first understand the relationship of the legs to the ground, and to the kua. The two go hand-in-hand, so to speak. Then you can combine their power to that of the trunk, building incrementally and creating a unified whole -- upper and lower body.

The arms, hands and fingers (their "shapes") really are transmitting and directing force from the ground and the core; they serve as transfer agents, conduits and directors for that force -- not as generators in and of themselves.

Alec Corper
04-04-2017, 01:24 PM
You may start with working the trunk, as many do, but to feel "qi" in the legs, you must first understand the relationship of the legs to the ground, and to the kua. The two go hand-in-hand, so to speak. Then you can combine their power to that of the trunk, building incrementally and creating a unified whole -- upper and lower body.

The arms, hands and fingers (their "shapes") really are transmitting and directing force from the ground and the core; they serve as transfer agents, conduits and directors for that force -- not as generators in and of themselves.

Hello Cady,
It seems to me you are referring to several things here. One is the great principle of "threes" as it manifests in root, branch and tip. Dividing the whole body according to that principle presents a diagram of both energy flow and structural manipulation. Thus the. Arms and legs are bows ( and pumps and springs) but so is the whole body. The hands and feet can be viewed and trained the same way, as is obvious in "plum blossom hand" in aiki age and aiki sage. Every finger has that property as well, producing multiple spirals.

Another factor is the order in which we build connections based upon the model or theory employed. I do not think that there is one right way, having seen, felt and trained in different systems. But I do believe that different people can find more, or less efficient methods for their initial engagement. As we progress we begin to be governed more by "the nature of things" to quote on your teachers, and less by our inherited or learned limitations.

Cady Goldfield
04-04-2017, 07:20 PM
Hello Alec,
Because of differing semantics and the variations in parsing out and training the principles and concepts, among the various internal arts, I find myself breaking down the processes I know to the simplest and most direct terms that I can. Even then, clear communication is a challenge, as you know.

In aikijujutsu as I know it (and also in the internal Chinese martial art I practice... at least, in my own experiences), the upper arm, down to the elbow, transmits or transfers force from the core ; the forearm directs that force (as do the fingers). You produce force elsewhere, deliver it to the limbs, and then, you can manipulate the "shape" of the limbs -- the bend of the elbows, the positioning and angles of hands and fingers, to direct where and how the power is delivered.

It's kind of like putting your thumb over the nozzle of a garden hose and changing the pressure and way the thumb covers and uncovers portions of the nozzle to direct the volume and amplitude of the water. :) The water doesn't itself come from the hose; it comes from an aquifer or other source, but is delivered by the hose to where you want the water to be, and how you want it distributed. Tiny "tweaks" and movements of the fingers in creating spiral "shapes" and trajectories, are an example of the manipulations of force coming from elsewhere in the body, to create myriad effects at the point of contact.

In essence, force and power come from the ground and body core, utilizing very specific groups of muscle, tendon and fascia, primarily. The arms and hands, in order to be able to transmit that force, must remain relaxed in the conventional muscles that normally are used to make power and movement. The arms are kept structured through complementary muscles and movements from elsewhere in the body other than the arms themselves and the deltoids. That way, their relaxed state can transmit force rather than become an obstacle to it due to tension; and, they can remain light at the point of contact so that the opponent can't "read" what your body is doing, while you can read what his is about to do.

This does not mean that the arms provide no power of their own; extension of the tendons and fascia in the fingers do add a measure that augments what comes from the core. An extending of the tissues of the upper arm to elbow is part of it, as well. There is also a measure of force added by the process that connects the arms to the body/core. But the relationship of ground, legs, kua/sokei orime and dantian/tanden-mingmen/meimon are foundational. The arms, IMO, are the bridge between ground and opponent's center of gravity/mass, when you wield a weapon or need to use your hands and arms in combat.

I agree with you that there doesn't have to be "one right way" to produce and direct force; however, I do believe that we are all limited to certain ways of creating this kind of power and its various effects. While the individual approaches and exercises can be vastly different, in my observation they must all abide by the same natural principles and physical laws, and the way the human body and bio-mechanics work with them.

Hello Cady,
It seems to me you are referring to several things here. One is the great principle of "threes" as it manifests in root, branch and tip. Dividing the whole body according to that principle presents a diagram of both energy flow and structural manipulation. Thus the. Arms and legs are bows ( and pumps and springs) but so is the whole body. The hands and feet can be viewed and trained the same way, as is obvious in "plum blossom hand" in aiki age and aiki sage. Every finger has that property as well, producing multiple spirals.

Another factor is the order in which we build connections based upon the model or theory employed. I do not think that there is one right way, having seen, felt and trained in different systems. But I do believe that different people can find more, or less efficient methods for their initial engagement. As we progress we begin to be governed more by "the nature of things" to quote on your teachers, and less by our inherited or learned limitations.

Cady Goldfield
04-05-2017, 12:40 AM
Has this video been posted, yet? If not, it should be of interest, as everything he is doing depends on having good ground connection, in addition to the other body qualities necessary for internal power.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdJxd_du16M

Alec Corper
04-05-2017, 01:17 AM
Hello Alec,
Because of differing semantics and the variations in parsing out and training the principles and concepts, among the various internal arts, I find myself breaking down the processes I know to the simplest and most direct terms that I can. Even then, clear communication is a challenge, as you know.

In aikijujutsu as I know it (and also in the internal Chinese martial art I practice... at least, in my own experiences), the upper arm, down to the elbow, transmits or transfers force from the core ; the forearm directs that force (as do the fingers). You produce force elsewhere, deliver it to the limbs, and then, you can manipulate the "shape" of the limbs -- the bend of the elbows, the positioning and angles of hands and fingers, to direct where and how the power is delivered.

It's kind of like putting your thumb over the nozzle of a garden hose and changing the pressure and way the thumb covers and uncovers portions of the nozzle to direct the volume and amplitude of the water. :) The water doesn't itself come from the hose; it comes from an aquifer or other source, but is delivered by the hose to where you want the water to be, and how you want it distributed. Tiny "tweaks" and movements of the fingers in creating spiral "shapes" and trajectories, are an example of the manipulations of force coming from elsewhere in the body, to create myriad effects at the point of contact.

In essence, force and power come from the ground and body core, utilizing very specific groups of muscle, tendon and fascia, primarily. The arms and hands, in order to be able to transmit that force, must remain relaxed in the conventional muscles that normally are used to make power and movement. The arms are kept structured through complementary muscles and movements from elsewhere in the body other than the arms themselves and the deltoids. That way, their relaxed state can transmit force rather than become an obstacle to it due to tension; and, they can remain light at the point of contact so that the opponent can't "read" what your body is doing, while you can read what his is about to do.

This does not mean that the arms provide no power of their own; extension of the tendons and fascia in the fingers do add a measure that augments what comes from the core. An extending of the tissues of the upper arm to elbow is part of it, as well. There is also a measure of force added by the process that connects the arms to the body/core. But the relationship of ground, legs, kua/sokei orime and dantian/tanden-mingmen/meimon are foundational. The arms, IMO, are the bridge between ground and opponent's center of gravity/mass, when you wield a weapon or need to use your hands and arms in combat.

I agree with you that there doesn't have to be "one right way" to produce and direct force; however, I do believe that we are all limited to certain ways of creating this kind of power and its various effects. While the individual approaches and exercises can be vastly different, in my observation they must all abide by the same natural principles and physical laws, and the way the human body and bio-mechanics work with them.

Hello Cady
I believe we just agreed:D I was also,stating that power comes from core and is expressed in the torso and limbs. It is this fact that allows for Fa Jin. What I also tried to indicate is that bio- mechanical design is such that the functional manifestations are continually replicated. This means that movement in the core can be tweaked through the use of the three planes alternatively in each segment, but only within the framework of natural principles . This then becomes the key for looking at, and analyzing martial practice, at least without touch, and provides a bridge across semantic difficulties.

I'm without a desktop so my reply is short or I get bounced out of the site:p

Alec Corper
04-05-2017, 02:13 AM
Has this video been posted, yet? If not, it should be of interest, as everything he is doing depends on having good ground connection, in addition to the other body qualities necessary for internal power.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdJxd_du16M

Personally much prefer this to bunny hopping and falling over partners.

https://youtu.be/eE2RucZ2jXY

Alec Corper
04-05-2017, 02:40 AM
And this one

https://youtu.be/wbWUWW57LOw

asiawide
04-05-2017, 07:18 AM
Personally much prefer this to bunny hopping and falling over partners.

https://youtu.be/eE2RucZ2jXY

Liu Chengde's partner is very impressive. Even Liu can not move him easily and dramatically like the western guy's peng-lu-ji-an. However, defending is A LOT easier than attacking. 6 months are enough with proper solo training. Many famous aikido shihans are just the level of the western guy IMHO.

Jaemin

Alec Corper
04-05-2017, 07:44 AM
Liu Chengde's partner is very impressive. Even Liu can not move him easily and dramatically like the western guy's peng-lu-ji-an. However, defending is A LOT easier than attacking. 6 months are enough with proper solo training. Many famous aikido shihans are just the level of the western guy IMHO.

Jaemin

Just so! Although your opinion is not so humble:D

Budd
04-05-2017, 09:14 AM
Yeah, I'm not in as much favor of the over hoppy receptions that show up.

Cady, we'd have to meet to be sure, but I'd wager we're talking about two different things with regard to the qi/ki in the legs. Issuance of ground force and directing it with the body vs channeling and force multipliers of the tissues - and I'll leave it at that.

MRoh
04-05-2017, 09:18 AM
Let's use rowing motion as an example. The movements comprising rowing motion are simple and can be learned in a matter of minutes.

I don't think so. That's why you see people doing it in a way that they move their upper body forward and back, using their hips to transfer weigth from back foot to front foot and back.
That's not what Ueshiba did, you see him turnig his body, using his body in a totally different way than you see most people do it.

Here is an interesting video, showing how the movent changed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2AjCGY9KRc

Cady Goldfield
04-05-2017, 09:25 AM
Personally much prefer this to bunny hopping and falling over partners.


I love Liu Chengde. He has always been my favorite Chen-style person. :) Yeah, his partners provide great resistance and their reactions are honest.

Partners often are not perfect, but even with occasional pre-emptive "bunny hops," Damo Mitchell's (the guy in my clip) skills are legitimate, and there are cues in the video that show that the kuzushi is genuine.

Cady Goldfield
04-05-2017, 09:29 AM
Yeah, I'm not in as much favor of the over hoppy receptions that show up.

Cady, we'd have to meet to be sure, but I'd wager we're talking about two different things with regard to the qi/ki in the legs. Issuance of ground force and directing it with the body vs channeling and force multipliers of the tissues - and I'll leave it at that.

Budd, I'd meet up with you anytime! Maybe circumstances will permit it, someday. I believe we are not speaking of different things, but of different parts of the same things. Like the blind guys and the elephant. ;)

Budd
04-05-2017, 09:40 AM
Well, ultimately they fit into the ontology of internal strength (I actually just used this in my presentation yesterday on Data Architecture at an industry conference), and agreed there still closely guarded unknowns, but in the general framework of Forces as a taxonomy (ground/gravity/person/other) what you're describing fits neatly in, whereas when I talk of the qi/ki, I'm typically referring (and I keep meaning to start a thread) to the tissue/bone/muscle/tendon connections which take much longer to develop in the body than the Intent/Force/Management, but ultimately make the body much more able to leverage the Forces taxonomy for measurable results.

Yes, they eventually come together and yes they are related within the ontology, but they are best, in my opinion, trained separately - similar to a sports team working offense, defense, special teams, passing, rushing, kicking, etc. instead of expecting it all to get worked out in a scrimmage.

Alec Corper
04-05-2017, 11:04 AM
Budd, I'd meet up with you anytime! Maybe circumstances will permit it, someday. I believe we are not speaking of different things, but of different parts of the same things. Like the blind guys and the elephant. ;)

When you guys work that out, can I come play too:cool:

Cady Goldfield
04-05-2017, 02:31 PM
When you guys work that out, can I come play too:cool:

Definitely!

asiawide
04-05-2017, 09:04 PM
Just so! Although your opinion is not so humble:D

Yes, not so humble. But that's why I've been into internal stuffs. And body changes suddenly like a baby suddenly begin to flip, crawl, stand, walk and run. IMH(or dare)O I doubt people who doesn't talk about these changes first.

Jaemin

Budd
04-07-2017, 01:30 PM
Yes, not so humble. But that's why I've been into internal stuffs. And body changes suddenly like a baby suddenly begin to flip, crawl, stand, walk and run. IMH(or dare)O I doubt people who doesn't talk about these changes first.

Jaemin

I think the body changes have more to do with how the qi develops in the body, the type of qi development you focus on (not all are the same) and then how you align those changes to any martial art expression. (again, differences there as well)

Per the subject of this thread - the connection to the ground (i.e. basic peng jin) is one of the very first things you can learn that's intention based and doesn't require significant changes in the body to effectively begin to "use". Jin will be more effectively developed over time and conveyed more powerfully as the body's qi is developed. But at least initially, they can mutually exclusive - with good reasons why you might want to train them as such, even as you work on stuff that brings them together as well.